|Report Sheds Light on Covid Impact on Ealing's BAME Communities|
Significant issues with mental health provision identified
November 25, 2020
A family living in a shed trapped in modern day slavery, and another being forced to leave their council home after their keyworker father died from coronavirus are among the shocking examples revealed of the plight of BAME communities in Ealing during the pandemic.
A report compiled by six BAME-led [black, Asian and minority ethnic] organisations in the borough has shed light on experiences of residents within a context of “deep-seated” inequalities that existed before the 2020 crisis.
Sharmarke Diriye, a programme lead for one of the groups involved called Golden Opportunity Skills and Development (GOSAD), unveiled the findings from 342 BAME residents surveyed to Ealing’s Health and Wellbeing Board on November 25.
More than 250 participants said they knew someone who had died as a direct result of Covid-19, while more than 300 said that the deadly virus had impacted their mental health.
More than 100 people said they would require mental health support and help to understand the up-to-date coronavirus rules.
Mr Diriye said a “shocking” finding of one of the organisations during their work this year was finding 17 BAME individuals with “severe and clinical” mental health conditions who could not stay indoors and abide by lockdown rules.
“The majority were not known to the system and because of the nature of the pandemic these individuals were actually outside,” Mr Diriye explained.
“One of the gentlemen that was found was supported, he ended up being in a fight with a police officer and was sectioned under the mental health act…
“Identification of these 17 individuals just shows that there’s a lot of people out there in Ealing especially for different reasons not seen by support systems to help.”
The charity worker also explained how the “majority” of BAME communities do not access certain mental health services in Ealing because of how the service is provided.
He added: “The issue around trauma, we have a lot of people who come from Syria and Afghanistan and unfortunately the services available are not designed to support them.”
The research carried out by United Anglo Carribean Society, GOSAD, CAME Women and Girls Development Organisation, Ealing Somali Welfare and Cultural Association, Horn of Africa Disability and Elderly Association and The Tamil Community Centre, reached participants within Ealing’s Punjabi, Sri-Lankan, Afro-Caribbean, Nepalese, Eritrean, Somali, South Sudanese and Arab-speaking communities.
Mr Diriye gave a number of recommendations across housing and welfare rights, health and social care inequalities, digital exclusion and also more recognition for BAME-led organisations in the borough.
“Some of these organisations deliver amazing work…they receive a lot of users with a lot of issues but they’re underfunded, they are not properly recognised,” he added.
Council leader Julian Bell described the case studies as “concerning” and that it shows the authority “clearly have got work to do”.
Findings presented by Ealing’s Public Health team also unveiled the inequalities of ethnic minorities being hit by coronavirus.
Southall, Greenford and South Acton were flagged as having the highest cumulative rates of coronavirus up until November 9.
Interim public health director Wendy Meredith said: “For us in Ealing we know wards with higher proportions of BAME residents have higher cumulative infection rates.
“And members of BAME communities are more likely to be employed in sectors that increase their rate of exposure, and they’re more likely to have underlying health conditions which increase their risk.
“Similar ethnic inequalities exist for the impact of the pandemic on mental health, loneliness, access to healthcare and economic impacts as well.”
She added that a Public Health England report pointed to racism and discrimination as key issues in the root cause of BAME communities exposure to the disease, and how severe it is.
And on the local picture, she said: “I think that’s come out in some of the discussions we’ve had so far.”
To read the report from the six community organisations click here.